Burried In Dolls

My hoarding began innocently enough.  I was the youngest of three sisters.  All three of us were properly spoiled by relatives and parents when it came to birthdays and Christmas.  My older sisters all had their collections.  My oldest sister Jessica collected my little pony and cabbage patch kids.  Katie the middle one had Barbie’s rainbow brite care bears and cabbage patch kids.  Wanting to be like my older sisters I liked all of them.  We had so many toys the basement became our playroom.  It was a big basement so there was never much incentive to get rid of things.  As my sisters grew up they were a year apart and then there is a 5 year gap before me, they wanted the play room to have a more grown up look.  The play kitchen, cozy coupe doll crib and piles of baby dolls and stuffed animals were un cool.  To keep the peace a smaller room in the basement was to become the new play room and the open area would become the tv and game room.  My sisters sorted through their dolls and put them into piles one pile were to be displayed discretely in their rooms, the second boxed and stored in their closets, a third pile were hand me downs to go to me and my new play room.  There was a fourth pile that at the time I did not pay much attention to.  These were the toys without a home.  When the sorting was complete the toys and dolls began going to their assigned place.  My sisters boxed up the dolls bound for their rooms and I helped my mom take the others to the new play room.  My dad dealt with the final pile.  I noticed him picking them up and putting them in bags but did not think about it at the time.  He would fill a few bags and take them somewhere.  A few days later I learned where that somewhere was.


I got off the bus and noticed dad had already put the trash out, trash day was the next day.  I was surprised to see a bigger pile than usual.  The can was full and another 6-8 bags were piled up next to it.  I took a closer look at the bags and saw faces looking back at me.  That’s when I realized what happened to the fourth pile.  I was mortified at the thought that the dolls were in the garbage. 


I went downstairs to the play room and looked around at all the toys.  There were lots, probably too many, but all I saw was room where one of the poor dolls sitting in the garbage could go.  I was torn I was always told garbage was nasty it was where dirty things went.  The dolls were not nasty but I knew that I was not supposed to get anything out of the trash.


It bothered me enough that later on I went out to the trash pile and brought in two bags,  I snuck them into the playroom and hid them in a closet.  I tore open the bags to see which ones I had saved from a horrible death.  A few cabbage patch dolls that had seen better days their hair tangled and dirty and their bodies a little torn and dirty.  Some other baby dolls some in good condition others not so great and some stuffed animals.  To a normal person they looked like they belonged in the trash but to me they were still good. 


The next morning while waiting for the bus I watched the garbage truck come and saw the 4 bags I was unable to save thrown in.  I still remember the smell and wanted to cry as I watched a mountain of garbage bury the bags with the dolls in them.  Over the next 10 years I became obsessed with saving and collecting dolls.  I went to garage sales when I was old enough and bought as many as I could afford the more beat up the better because those were the ones most likely to be thrown away.  I even picked through neighborhood trash to save dolls.  It did not matter what condition they were in or what actual trash they might be in with.  On one occasion I “rescued” a bag of dolls from a room cleaning with half a dozen wet goodnites underpants in the bag with them.  I put the wet diapers in the trash but kept the dolls.  The closet in the playroom was stuffed the playroom itself overflowing so I could barley get in.  Mom wanted me to clean it but never pushed the issue.  As my sisters grew older I took their dolls they either gave them to me or I took them from the trash when they threw them away.  When I moved out after high school I took them all with me.  The extra space of my own place let me collect even more. 


It got to the point where I wouldn’t even take the dolls out of the trash bags I found them in, which was a problem because some of those bags had actual garbage in them too.  My living room became filled with opened and unopened bags taken from the trash. 


The intervention. 


My two sisters and my best friend showed up at my apartment one day.  I did not want to let them in because the place was a mess but I relented.  They told me they were worried about me and I had to get the situation under control.  They convinced me to let them go through the bags and separate the dolls from the garbage. 


I agreed and they began opening bags.  They took any dolls out and put them in a pile on the floor.  Any garbage went into a trash bag.  The first few bags were pretty tame either all dolls or a mix of non offensive trash papers bottles etc.  We hit a bit of a wall when they opened a bag with some real trash.  The bag was half filled with dolls the other half was bathroom trash, some Kleenex, pads and dirty diapers.  The bag had been in the room for over a month and it smelled awful.  The dolls were even molding from the exposure.  My sisters wanted to throw them out but I resisted.  The sorting came to a halt.    Finally Jessica my oldest sister picked up one of the dolls and gave it to me, she told me to hold it and look it over.  I examined the doll.  She was dirty her hair matted from the moisture and her body covered in mold.  I realized that the doll really was nasty she belonged in the garbage.  With some more prodding I agreed to discard the doll.  To soften the blow Jessica bought the odor shield bags.  They have a nice smell to them she convinced me they would protect the dolls from the other nasty garbage.  It was a lie no one really believed but I hung onto it to get through. 


As we went along I began focusing on finding the dolls I wanted to keep rather than get rid of.  I would go through a pile and pick out keepers then go to a different room and sort a different pile. While I was in another room one of the others would put the remaining ones in garbage bags and take them outside.  After an intensive day we were able to get the living room cleared and the piles in the other rooms more manageable.  I have a room stuffed with them still but my bedroom and living room are clean and my apartment if no longer filled with bags full of garbage.  The following day was the city’s cleanup day and my sisters borrowed a truck and took everything to the park where volunteers collected trash to haul away I stayed behind not ready to see the end results.  For now I have stopped acquiring but the temptation is still there.  

ashleyS21 ashleyS21
2 Responses Apr 14, 2010

I can relate to the feeling you had towards the dolls and them not being trash. I am the same way in that sense, although Im a clean person, I bring stuff home and clean it. I collect stuffed animals and throw them in the washing machine, unless washing makes them fall apart, otherwise its by hand with a wash rag and airing them out in direct sunlight to bleach and kill germs, lysol.<br />
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Im a toy collector, ever seen the Velveteen Rabbit? Thats part of where mine came from.

Great story! You were lucky to have such caring sisters and friend to help you. Best of Luck.